Why would anyone have been such a loo-lah as to have opposed the Lisbon Treaty? (For that is what Bertie Ahern suggested that opponents must be).
Maybe because the experience of authority has been such that there is deep rooted suspicion of all authority.
If your experience of authority was:
- a church that moved paedophile clergy from parish to parish
- politicians who cannot explain how they came by large amounts of money
- a health service which lets people die unnecessarily
- an education service where children spend years in prefabs
- county councils subject to tribunals of inquiry
- a police force accused of fabricating evidence in Co Donegal
- a transport department that cannot meet budgets
- a culture where you needed to “know someone” to get things done
then wouldn’t it be reasonable to be suspicious of proposals to create more authorities?
Wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that if that is the way that authority works, then a new president of the European Commission and a high representative for foreign affairs might be every bit as bad as the experience of authority at home?
If Europe had not developed its own culture of inflated expense claims and huge salaries, then it might be argued that the Irish experience is atypical and that it was different elsewhere. Last November the European Court of Auditors refused to sign off the EU accounts – for the thirteenth year in a row. Is this is the EU into which we should aspire to be fully integrated?
As the EU foreign ministers discuss the result, why don’t they ask why there are so many loo-lahs? Why don’t they ask the awkward question of why there is such a distrust of authority that what was represented as simply an administrative reform package was rejected? Why don’t they ask what it was that prompted 53% of the electorate to take the line of the odd ragbag of ‘No’ campaigners?
Perhaps we could have a Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Loo-Lahs and Other Matters, the evidence it couldn’t take longer than the other tribunals and the evidence it would hear would be no more surreal; we might even understand some of the frustration and alienation felt by ordinary people confronted by the Leviathan of bureaucracy.